by Lisa Sharp
Living in Oklahoma these past two summers has been tough. The heat wave and drought that has engulfed nearly 97 percent of the state has fueled massive wildfires, costing many their homes. The devastation doesn’t stop at Oklahoma’s borders, either. Those living outside of Oklahoma, or even outside of the drought and heat wave, will still feel the impacts of the drought. Food prices have already jumped 6 percent and corn prices are at a record high. And it’s not just corn that is struggling; 66 percent of the United State’s hay is in drought, and 73 percent of cattle grazing land suffers from drought. Other crops are struggling around the U.S. as well. This has sparked fear of another food crisis, something like the food crisis of 2007/08.
Oklahoma Senator In Denial
Despite the overwhelming mounting evidence of our changing climate, many in power choose to ignore or deny it. My Senator in Oklahoma, Sen. James Inhofe, who wrote the book, “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,” is one of the most well-known climate deniers. He is famously quoted here:
“Climate change is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” ~Sen. Inhofe
His own state is having to declare a state of emergency due to the extreme drought and two summers of record heat, but Inhofe is standing firm in his denial. During a Senate committee hearing on climate change earlier this month, Inhofe stated, “the global warming movement has completely collapsed.”
Why Sen. Inhofe’s Climate Denial Is Bad For This Country:
A consequence of the current extreme weather is increased ground-level ozone. You may have heard of an ozone alert, or air pollution alert. Ozone is a colorless gas that naturally exists in the earth’s upper atmosphere and protects us from the sun’s harmful rays. However, when ozone is found near the surface, it’s called ground-level ozone or smog. Ground-level ozone is caused by a combination of things, including heat and pollutants. While everyone is vulnerable to ground-level ozone, children, the elderly, people with respiratory conditions, and people that work outside are at an increased risk.
Why Sen. Inhofe’s Climate Denial Is Bad For Me:
I have asthma. So I’m one of the “sensitive population” that is impacted by ground-level ozone. With the increased number of ozone alert days, I’m forced to skip out on some outdoor activities. For instance, on my birthday, I was planning to visit the zoo in either Oklahoma City or Tulsa. But there was an ozone alert in both cities and I had to choose an indoor activity. I already live near a cement plant and worry about mercury, but now I also have to deal with this increase of pollution.
3 Things We Can Do Stop Climate Change:
- Tell Barack Obama and Mitt Romney climate change can’t wait! We want real solutions now.
- You can help reduce ground-level ozone by doing simple things: avoid driving, refuel vehicles carefully and when air is cooler, avoid idling your vehicle, avoid mowing during ozone alerts, and try to mow in the evening, or better yet, use a greener mower.
- Join Moms Clean Air Force to stay up-to-date on the latest news.
Clearly, climate change is here and it will continue to impact us, unless we become part of the solution and vote into office those who do not deny science.
Photo credit: Moms Clean Air Force